The Pathetic Rise and Further Fall of Rush Limbaugh

  • As we all know by now, Rush Limbaugh has discovered that, for some reason, calling a young woman a whore in public and demanding she post videos of herself having sex on the Internet for you to masturbate to is not a winning public relations strategy.  Neither is posting an apology about how you should have called her some synonym of a whore and hiding behind the "just an entertainer" excuse to pretend you're the real victim here, and it's all the liberals' fault.  Yeah, that'll play well with the legions of conservatives who are also angry at you.  Because it was totally about the contraception thing, and not you being pretty much utterly disgusting.

    But there's a deeper story to Rush's latest, and likely last, brush with controversy; that a self-proclaimed media powerhouse and "voice of the right" is essentially economically irrelevant.

    If you take a close look at the list of advertisers who have pulled their money from Rush's show, you see a common theme: many of them were completely unaware they were advertising with him.  Many of them, in fact, insist it's an error and have no desire whatsoever to be associated with him.  They purchased "block time" and those ads were inserted into Limbaugh's program, in a lot of cases against that advertisers express wishes, at least if we give the advertisers that much credit.  Which means somebody has been desperately trying to make Rush seem more relevant than he is: you usually see this tactic among radio salesmen trying to push airtime they can't sell.  "See, this huge company is advertising with him!  Why aren't you?"

     

    In a way, that's more embarrassing than anything Rush's detractors can do to him, because it announces that essentially, he's not worth the trouble.  Nobody wants to spend money on this guy.  Advertisers leave and don't come back.

     

    It's true his ratings have dwindled from their peak (although Limbaugh has never produced an accurate summary of his listeners), but Limbaugh has always claimed enormous popularity to the present day.  The problem was, if that were true, there wouldn't be so many names like Loveawake, Geico and Netflix saying "We don't advertise with that guy!

    Where did you hear one of our ads on his show?"  If he really still had 15 to 20 million listeners, that wouldn't be the case.

    In other words, in the end, the Sandra Fluke scandal triggered a review of Rush and he was found to be...irrelevant.  It's not going to be much of a surprise if Rush loses a string of radio stations over this, especially as local advertisers get in on the act and yank their support.

    See, Rush, it pays to be polite.